A Sheffield Wednesday striker accused of knocking two men unconscious in separate nightclub incidents turned into “an arrogant, violent thug” when drunk, a court heard.
Gary Madine already had a conviction for knocking a man out in Carlisle when he attacked two men weeks apart in Sheffield bars in unprovoked assaults, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Madine, aged 23, was described as a powerful, English-style centre forward who was aware of the strength he possessed in his 6ft 3in frame.
The footballer, originally from Gateshead, denies all charges against him.
Ian West, prosecuting, said: “During his hours of sobriety, Mr Madine is a very fine footballer. However, if you believe the red top newspapers, as often footballers do, they go out at night and drink.
“The prosecution suggest in Mr Madine’s case, he in too much drink turns into an arrogant, violent thug.”
When Madine played for Carlisle United, he knocked a man unconscious in February 2010 after he was refused a drink following closing time and tried to help himself, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He is charged with punching the men unconscious with a single blow, knocking them to the floor and breaking bones.
Daniel Beresford, a Sheffield Wednesday fan, who works at Meadowhall, was attacked by Madine in the Paris Bar last February and suffered a broken nose, the court heard.
Reece Hall, a Sheffield United fan, was attacked the following month in the Viper Room, opposite the Paris Bar.
He suffered a broken jaw and his cheek was fractured in five places, the jury heard.
Mr West said of Madine: “He is a very fit and strong young man. You may think Mr Madine is a large centre forward in the old-fashioned English style, and is very much aware of his physical strength, it being so much a part of his job.
“You would think on the third assault that when he throws a punch, especially a drunken punch, late at night in a nightclub, he is really going to cause a lot of damage.
“When thinking about what he was intending, do not forget he is a big, strong lad and he knows what he is capable of.”
Mr West said Madine stared at Mr Beresford in the Paris Bar and when the keen Owls fan asked him why, the player walked over and punched him on the nose.
He said Mr Beresford, who is 5ft 9ins, was knocked to the floor, banged his head and was knocked out for between two and five minutes in the 1am attack.
Madine left before police arrived but handed himself in nine days later claiming he’d acted in self defence after Mr Beresford threw a drink over him.
While on bail for the alleged offence, on March 11 last year Madine was in the Viper Room and at around 1.30am went to the toilet, the prosecution said.
While at the urinal next to Mr Hall, Madine is alleged to have asked: “Wednesday or United?”
Mr Hall, who did not recognise the Wednesday striker, replied: “United” and Madine walked out of the toilets, the court heard.
As he walked along a corridor back to the bar he was punched in the eye which knocked him out and gave him a broken jaw and fractured cheek, the court heard.
He told police his assailant was aged 24 to 26, about 6ft 3ins, of slim to medium build, with dark hair.
Mr Hall went with a police officer into the nightclub and picked out Madine and the player was arrested.
Giving evidence, Mr Beresford said he was a “massive Sheffield Wednesday fan” and Madine was the star striker and top scorer at the time.
“He was one of my favourite players, someone I looked up to,” he said.
Asked if he had a grievance with Madine at the time, he replied: “None at the time; obviously there is now.”
He said: “I was just having a chat with my friend and I realised a group of lads were stood about 8ft away from me. I realised Gary Madine was looking at me. I couldn’t understand why he was looking at me. He was looking at me in a way where he was angry at me for some particular reason. I was nervous.”
Mr Beresford said he said “What?” over the nightclub music to Madine before the footballer came up and hit him.
He said he’d thought about the incident many times since, adding: “I cannot think why he would have done it to me. It all happened so quick I was not able to defend myself.”
Alison Dorrell, defending, said Mr Beresford was “fighting drunk”, had a temper, and had thrown his drink over the player after asking him “What the f*** are you looking at?”
Mr Beresford denied the claims.
The jury was told that Doncaster Rovers player Kyle Bennett may give evidence for the defence.
Before the jury was sworn in, Judge Rodney Jameson QC asked any of the panel if they held season tickets for Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday or Sheffield United. None did.
He also asked if any potential jury member had such allegiance to a football club that they could not be neutral, and again none did.
Madine denies causing grievous bodily harm and the alternative charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Mr Beresford.
He also denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent and an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm against Mr Hall.
The trial continues tomorrow.